More than 7,000 days lost to officers off work for stress, say West Yorkshire Police

Police officers at a protest in Leeds city centre in 2018. Picture: SWNS
Police officers at a protest in Leeds city centre in 2018. Picture: SWNS

More than 13,400 days were lost to officers' poor mental health last year, West Yorkshire Police say.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed the staggering number of staff who had to take sick leave for mental health reasons over recent years, with stress being by far the most common reason.

Of the 439 West Yorkshire Police staff members who took sick leave for their mental health in 2018, almost 60% (262) of these gave stress as a reason they needed time off work.

A total of 7,154 days were lost to stress.

Anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were other common medical reasons why officers took sick leave from the force.

The figures come after a study revealed one in five police employees in Yorkshire suffered with a form of PTSD.

The findings published last month showed rates of the condition were nearly five times higher than those of the general population.

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West Yorkshire Police have said they support employees with mental health issues "through a number of paths".

Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams said: “It is well recognised that policing is a stressful job and we are acutely aware that pressures on staff have increased in recent years.

“We have seen an increase in demand at a time when resources have decreased, and the effects of this on officers and staff with regards to mental health are well recognised both nationally and in West Yorkshire.

“We have lots of support services for staff, both online and in person, including peer support networks and trained listeners and are also undertaking additional training with the charity MIND to improve our provision.

“The force also offers treatment for those experiencing mental health related symptoms and signposts those who need support to external organisations such as the Police Treatment Centre which understands the role and the specific needs of a Police Officer."